P.O. Box 600
Contact: Anna Farneski
RELEASE: December 3, 2003
Lettiere unveils second
Highway Safety Impact Team on busy
stretch of Route 9 in Middlesex, Monmouth
Team recommends series of safety
(Old Bridge) - Transportation Commissioner Jack Lettiere was joined today by members of a joint state-federal highway safety team, law enforcement and local elected officials to release recommendations for a series of safety improvements to Route 9 in Middlesex and Monmouth counties.
as part of Governor's Highway Safety Initiative
“We must do everything in our power to make our highways safer for all the motorists and pedestrians that use our roads.” Lettiere added. “Governor McGreevey has said that we have a personal responsibility to invest whatever time, money, and effort is necessary to improve our roads to reduce the risk of accidents and ease congestion.”
The Impact Team recently studied a 10-mile section of Route 9 from milepost 120 to 130 in Sayreville, Marlboro and Old Bridge Townships, which was identified as one of New Jersey’s most dangerous sections of highway as part of Governor McGreevey’s “Safety First” Highway Safety Initiative. The $20 million program will improve safety over the next 5 years with stricter police enforcement, increased fines for unsafe equipment and hazardous driving, enhanced driver education and highway improvements.
In 2002, 603 crashes occurred on along the 10-mile stretch, which currently sees 63,774 vehicles daily.
On Route 9, the Team recommended that work begin immediately on $1.5 million in short-term improvements to be completed within a year that include improving traffic signals at intersections with Perrine Road, Robertsville Road and Texas Road, installing safer pedestrian crossings and safer access to NJ TRANSIT buses that serve the corridor. The team also recommended installing electronic signs to alert motorists to upcoming signals and installation of curb ramps.
“I wish to thank Commissioner Lettiere and the Safety Impact Team for this very important study to improve safety on this section of Route 9,” said Assemblyman Samuel Thompson (R-13). “We had a number of fatalities in recent years and consequently, I and the citizens of Monmouth County will be eagerly awaiting implementation of the team’s recommendations.”
Long-term recommendations include a study to reduce congestion at Route 9 and Robertsville Road in order to cut the number of crashes, and a collaborative effort with NJ TRANSIT to reinforce existing north- and southbound shoulders of the highway so buses can travel on them during rush hours.
“New Jersey’s Safety Impact Teams are an innovative method to address highway safety improvements,” said Dennis Merida, New Jersey Division Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration. “By incorporating the ‘three Es,’ engineering, education and enforcement, into the process, every facet of safety along the high priority corridors can be fully addressed.”
The Route 9 review is the second conducted by the Safety Impact Team, which is comprised of individuals from the NJDOT, the Federal Highway Administration, state and local law enforcement, the Federal Motor Carrier Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The team completed its review of Route 1 in Mercer County in May and will now continue to 11 additional sites.
“The health of our transportation system is crucial to our quality of life and our economy and something we cannot take for granted as we discuss the reauthorization of New Jersey’s Transportation Trust Fund,” said Lettiere, noting that safety and road improvements are funded with TTF dollars.
Last week, a Blue Ribbon Commission recommended a 12.5 cent increase in New Jersey’s gas tax. The Commission cited a staggering need for transportation investments in New Jersey and the impending insolvency of the TTF. The TTF, which has been the primary funding mechanism for State transportation dollars since 1984, needs new revenue or NJDOT’s $2.6 billion annual capital program will shut down. The report recommended a constitutionally dedicated 12.5 cent increase in New Jersey’s motor fuels tax that would bring financial accountability to the fund and secure its role in funding future transportation projects.
"We have a responsibility to the drivers and commuters who use Route 9 to reduce the number of accidents that occur here. I thank Commissioner Lettiere for recognizing this need and look forward to making Route 9 a safer stretch of highway," said Assemblyman John S. Wisniewski (D-19), who chairs the Assembly Transportation Committee. "Additionally, we need to ensure that important transportation projects like these continue to have a stable funding source by renewing the Transportation Trust Fund."